Geography

Area: 438,317 sq. km; about twice the size of Idaho.
Cities: Capital--Baghdad (5.7 million, 2004 estimate). Other cities--Basrah, Mosul, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil. Terrain: Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in the south with large flooded areas; mountains along the borders with Iran and Turkey.
Climate: Desert, mostly hot and dry.

 

 

People and Economy

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Iraqi(s).
Population (July 2011 est.): 30,399,572.
Population growth rate (2011 est.): 2.399%.
Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurd 15%-20%, Turkoman, Chaldean, Assyrian, or others approximately 5%.
Religions: Muslim 97% (Shi’a 60%-65%; Sunni 32%-37%), Christian and others approximately 3%.
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian, Armenian.
Education: Years compulsory--primary school (age 6 through grade 6). Literacy (2006 UNESCO est.)--74.1%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--41.68 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--70.55 yrs.

Economy
Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: October 15, 2005.
Independence: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from British administration under a League of Nations mandate. Several coups after 1958 resulted in dictatorship, with the Ba’ath Party seizing power in 1963 and again in 1968. From July 1979 to March 2003, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed administrative and security responsibility for Iraq following the March-April 2003 overthrow of the regime, while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional government. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government. A new 4-year, constitutionally based government took office in March 2006, and a new cabinet was installed in May 2006. On June 31, 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas, a step that reinforced Iraqi sovereignty. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held a second round of national elections to choose the members of the Council of Representatives and, in turn, the executive branch of government.
Branches: Executive--Presidency Council (one president and up to three vice presidents; Council of Ministers (one prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, and 43 cabinet ministers). Legislative--Council of Representatives (COR) consisting of 325 members.Judicial--Supreme Court appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by the Council of Representatives.
Divisions: 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah)--Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit. One region--the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: October 15, 2005.
Independence: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gained independence from British administration under a League of Nations mandate. Several coups after 1958 resulted in dictatorship, with the Ba’ath Party seizing power in 1963 and again in 1968. From July 1979 to March 2003, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed administrative and security responsibility for Iraq following the March-April 2003 overthrow of the regime, while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional government. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government. A new 4-year, constitutionally based government took office in March 2006, and a new cabinet was installed in May 2006. On June 31, 2009, U.S. troops withdrew from urban areas, a step that reinforced Iraqi sovereignty. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held a second round of national elections to choose the members of the Council of Representatives and, in turn, the executive branch of government.
Branches: Executive--Presidency Council (one president and up to three vice presidents; Council of Ministers (one prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, and 43 cabinet ministers). Legislative--Council of Representatives (COR) consisting of 325 members.Judicial--Supreme Court appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by the Council of Representatives.
Divisions: 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah)--Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit. One region--the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Iraq

Trump Officials Reconsider Prosecuting ISIS ‘Beatles’ Without Death Penalty (Fri, 31 Jul 2020)
American military officials in Iraq want two detainees taken off their hands and a British court has blocked sharing evidence for any death-penalty case. But other options are also getting a second look.
>> Read more

Scorching Temperatures Bake Middle East Amid Eid al-Adha Celebrations (Fri, 31 Jul 2020)
Record high temperatures were recorded in Baghdad and Damascus, and experts warned of the effects of prolonged heat waves as the planet warms.
>> Read more

Inside the Iraqi Kleptocracy (Wed, 29 Jul 2020)
Corruption, as much as violence, makes Iraq unlivable. It helped fuel the rise of ISIS. And America provides the cash to sustain it, at least $10 billion a year in hard currency.
>> Read more

Why the United States Invaded Iraq (Tue, 28 Jul 2020)
Robert Draper’s “To Start a War” provides the deep background on the decisions that took America into war in the Middle East.
>> Read more

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